GEORGETOWN, GUYANA – Several efforts are being made by the government to rejuvenate the sugar industry. Dr.Mohamed Irfaan Ali, Guyana’s president, confirmed this via a statement on Sunday, stating that Guyana and Guatemala will work together to ensure this becomes a reality.
Guatemala is the world’s fourth-largest exporter of sugar, and the second largest in Latin and Central America, according to Dr. Ali. It is estimated that the sugar industry in that country provides 80,000 direct jobs and 410,000 indirect jobs.
During the press conference at State House, he presented Guyana’s recent participation at the CARICOM Thirty-third Intersectional Meeting in Belize.
The president said Guatemala has 11 sugar mills with 251,000 hectares of cultivation that yield up to 10.7 metric tonnes per hectare, earning over $1 billion in exports. Comparatively, Guyana has 49,000 hectares available for sugar, yielding approximately five tonnes per hectare.
“We are going to look at the best practices in Guatemala and Guyana and twin our operations from the management side, the operation side, the investment side, but more importantly, the end result of this is sustainability, job creation, economic expansion, and viability of the industry,” president Ali stated.
As part of its commitment to keeping the sugar industry alive, the government allocated $6 billion in budget 2022 to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) for the industry’s field and factory operations.
Allotted funds will be invested in the Albion, Blairmont, and Uitvlugt factories, and will allow for the production of more value-added products for domestic and international markets.
During the Fourth CARICOM-SICA Summit in Belize, Guyana and Guatemala held discussions.
Both presidents made a joint statement last week expressing aspirations for broad and effective cooperation, including on issues related to security, climate change, agriculture, and food safety.
President Ali announced that the two countries are finalizing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and in a matter of two weeks Guyana will conclude an exchange visit and action agenda with Guatemala.
Additionally, Dr. Ali pointed out that during the Inter-Sessional Meeting of CARICOM heads, discussions were held on high-value commodities that have the potential to develop in the region. Among them are palm oil, coconut, spices, cocoa, coffee, and hemp.
In 2020, CARICOM spent about US$142 million on palm oil imports, US$48.5 million on cocoa imports, and US$9.5 million on coffee imports. Dr. Ali said these are markets Guyana could tap into by developing its productive capacity.